Sunday, I decided to take out my little Featherweight and do a little maintenance. I purchased this machine 4 or 5 years ago and haven't really taken very good care. Fortunately, I haven't used it very much either. In fact, I hadn't even given much thought about the machine needed oiling and lubricant until recently. Here's my sweet little machine:
According to serial number on this machine, it was produced in August 1950. The machine itself is in pretty shape. The decals are mostly in good condition. There is a spot on the front where the decals are a little worn. Here's my tools:
Sorry, this picture is a little dark. I have the machine manual, a bottle of singer machine oil, and the singer lubricant. In addition, I have paper towels, a brush, and q-tips. At this point, my little machine is not making a stitch and I strongly suspect that is is entirely user related and most likely that the thread isn't threaded properly. At least, that is what I'm hoping. Now, to get started with the maintenance.
I started with removing the face plate on the side. There is a little thumb screw holding in in place. I forgot to take a picture with the plate off but there was 11 oiling points behind the plate. Not all of the oiling points were accessible with the oiling bottle that I have so I will be purchasing a new bottle with a longer snout on it. I used a q-tip to rub oil into those placing that I was unable to reach. I doubt that is sufficient.
Here I have loosened the top plate and turned it to the side so that I can get to the gears and oiling points. There was a little bit of sticky old lubricant on the gears that I removed. There was a total of 11 oiling points on the top, back, and under the top plate. Oiling points were easy to reach with the bottle that I have. I put a small amount of lubricant on the gears. Next, I turned the machine on it's back.
See the big thumb screw. This holds a the bottom plate on and inside is a piece of felt to caught excess oil. I wasn't sure what I was going to find here. Again, I missed taking a picture without the cover. There was 13 oiling points and 1 lubricant point. All the oiling points were easy to reach with the oil bottle. The felt pad was in very good condition so I didn't attempt to replace it. I also checked the feet on the machine and the condition of the wiring. All was in good shape.
This picture was suppose to show the lubricant points. There are two. One is just to the right of my loving orange belt and the other is the silver dot on the right side of the picture. I did take a pin a pull out as much of the black lubricant as I could. It was pretty thick and sticky. Filling the grease tubes was actually the hardest point of this little maintenance job.
Here's the bobbin area. It's a little dusty and I dusted fairly well. I double-checked that there wasn't anything thread caught in this area. I also removed the plate to clean the feed dogs. There was a little bit of dust here but it was mostly clean. Here I made a mistake when I reassembled the plate. Notice in the picture that the bobbin case actually fits into the plate. If you ow,miss getting that finger into the plate, the machine will not work. You know I know this from experience as I didn't get this area assembled corrected the first time I put it back together.
Now, I was to the point of replacing the presser foot, inserting the needle, putting the bobbin in, and threading the machine. First attempt with inserting the needle, I didn't get the needle inserted all the way into the machine. This really started me as the needle was hitting the bobbin case. Fortunately, it didn't take long to figure out the issue. There are 10 points to threading this little machine. I was a little nervous at this point. Would my machine make a stitch? Would it run smoothly?
Success! My little machine is stitching fine now. I was very happy to see that it was making a stitch. I may play with the tension a little bit but over all it is good.
Do you know that it is recommended that if the machine is used a lot that it should be oiled on a daily basis? I think back to my very first sewing machine that my Grandmother gave me. It was a pretty little turquoise portable. I had it at least 8 years before my Mom took the motor for her machine (yes, I was unhappy about this). I know I didn't oil that machine once the entire time I had it or clean it. I suppose I was lucky that it worked the whole time I had it. This also made me realize how lucky we are that the modern machines do not require any oiling.
I'm ready to start piecing. I don't know what it will be just yet.